Sport360°’s Alex Rea has teamed up with the guys at Desert Barbell to embark on a six-week powerlifting challenge, working alongside industry experts ahead of his first ever competition – Powermeet 5.0. In the last segment of the series, we examine how the competition went and in Coach’s Corner with DB co-founder Patrik Hedqvist, the Swede has some exciting news for the powerlifting community in the UAE.
Marching up for the first lift – the squat, a giant grin stretched across my face.
Not the type of smirk borne through nerves or apprehension, but rather the satisfaction of reaching this point after a gruelling six-week program.
Indeed, it was a moment to enjoy and embrace because there really is nothing like performing a task, any task, in front of an audience.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s two or 200 people, energy rises through the soles of your feet and tingles to the end of your fingers.
The experience is very sensory. You can hear the swell of encouragement, see the watching eyeballs narrowed in on the platform, feel the crisp-cold metal of the bar while the chalky air fills your nostrils.
There is a level of accountability, too, and a slice of pressure which is hard to replicate in prep. But harnessing that energy gives you an extra zip and zeal to help drive the weight up.
And if one thing can be taking away from Powermeet 5.0, it is that community spirit is a powerful and breathing beast.
The guys at Desert Barbell deserve massive credit for helping to organically create that spirit for this region because before they stepped in, there was nothing and now there is something pretty magical.
There is a sense of immense pride after being so welcomed into this community and for those reading, it truly is a collective for any and everyone.
My fellow competitors, women and men, were hugely inspiring – congratulations to all for stepping up and smashing the lifts.
Personally, it was a different kind of transformation from the physique challenge undertaken in the summer.
The transition from ‘bro-lifter’ to powerlifter is complete and while there were some mistakes – notably on the bench – the meet is one hallmarked by achievement.
I finished in third spot among the -83kg category with lifts of 170kg on squat, 125kg for bench and 240kg on deadlift to hit a respectable 535kg total.
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Different kind of transformation 🙃 July 2018 vs September 2018. Physique to powerlifter. Very happy with the results in both... 7% body fat and then 3rd place in -83 category. Many thanks to @desert.barbell, @borjetheswede and @myproplife for all their support 💪🏽. Now time to get my abs and biceps back 😂
Bolting hips saw two failures on bench and the depth police sounded their sirens for my second go at squat, yet they were ultimately minor blots on an otherwise excellent experience.
It was a competition first, but certainly not the last and at this point I’d like to thank Patrik Hedqvist and the Desert Barbell team for their tremendous support and guidance throughout the last six weeks.
The guys have some exciting news to announce which you can read about below in Coach’s Corner.
But for this challenge it’s a wrap. Perhaps the biggest result is the massive smile among fellow lifters at the competition’s end and for those who know me best, they’ll know getting that caught on camera is an achievement in itself.
COACH’S CORNER WITH PATRIK HEDQVIST (@borjetheswede)
A BAR IS A BAR, OR?
The gym/training scene is extremely big all over the world, and the Middle East is no different.
In almost every apartment building there is a facility, hundreds of conventional gyms and hotels are also very well equipped for all-round training. Just read that again: all-round training.
If you play football, you go to a football club. If you ride horses, you go to the equestrian centre. If you dive, you go to the diving club. If you do power, para or weightlifting, you go to….the all-round gym?!
There are elements of these sports at all other facilities, but without the specific knowledge and very seldom the equipment which is used in competitions. So far Dubai has never had a specialised lifting club. Until now.
Desert Barbell Sports Club is a fully specialised facility with the best possible equipment for; powerlifting, weightlifting and para powerlifting.
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Pre-opening membership special rates are now available. . The region's first dedicated barbell sports club, a space for beginners to advanced lifters, and anyone who wants to get stronger, is open for pre-registration! Desert Barbell Sports Club will provide a wide range of services in dedicated spaces for powerlifting, weightlifting, para-powerlifting and general strength training. . Become a member from AED290 per month when you purchase your upfront annual package for AED3480. You can register tomorrow at the Power Meet 5.0 to be among the first 50 members and take advantage of the early bird rate. . Check the link in our profile to learn more about the facility and to take advantage of the pre-opening specials.
This includes; Eleiko bars, plates, racks, podiums and benches. Basic equipment for assistance work is at hand, also of the highest quality, but very limited number of machines and electrical cardio equipment.
Having like minded people training side-by-side with the same passion will carry you forward.
Treating lifting as a primary sport and having a place to socialise and learn from each other is what grows a community.
CrossFit has done this very successfully and there is much to learn from the way that community has risen.
If you are interested in lifting, this November will be the time when your dreams come true.
For more information on Desert Barbell Sports Club visit: www.desertbarbell.co/desert-barbell-sports-club/
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